[OPE-L:2841] Re: Re: (5 end) Partial Reply toFred's on Althusser, concluding with CLASS STRUGGLE

From: Claus Germer (cmgermer@sociais.ufpr.br)
Date: Thu Apr 13 2000 - 18:05:03 EDT

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In [OPE-L:2821] Riccardo wrote, answering to Fred:

> I would say that, since general exchange is *capitalist* general
> and since capitalist production of commodities needs to be finaced, even
> Marx is successful (and I doubt that), his explanation must be coherent
> with a good theory of finance to production, which necessitates money not
> be a commodity.
> BTW: Benetti and Cartelier, positively speaking, criticize Marx because
> they think that money is not a commodity. You ((and Martha) criticize
> because you think that thei cirticism of Marx is wrong, but you *too*
> that money is not commodity (the same for Marx). *If* this is right, both
> of you agree positively (with me, and Benetti, and Cartelier), that money
> in capitalism is not a commodity. OK?
> BTW2: I agree with Claus that money in Capital is a money-commodity. If
> this is true, and if what is said above is true, Marx was wrong.
> Riccardo Bellofiore


I have not been able, for lack of time, to jump into this debate about
KeXMarx in general and particularly about money. However, Riccardo's
statement above strikes me and I would shortly ask him on what grounds he
states that the fact of financing of production requires money not to be a
commodity. If one goes through the chapters in part V of vol. III of
Capital there is IMO no inconsistency between the concept of money as a
commodity and the working of capitalism based on an advanced banking system
and a purely credit money circulation. Is there a sense in which Marx's
understanding of interest bearing capital and bank lending for capital
investment is contradicted by the actual working of the financing of

After I started this post, Fred's [OPE-L: 2840] came in, and I fully agree
with his argument:

> I do not understand why "a good theory of finance to production
> necessitates that money must NOT be a commodity." For a long time
> (at least), money was a commodity, no? So if a theory requires that
> NOT be a commodity, isn't there a problem with this theory? If money is
> indeed no longer a commodity, but once was, then what we need is a theory
> of money which can explain both money as a commodity and money not as a
> commodity.

I would add that capitalism had an explicit commodity money until 1971, and
I think no one can deny that the banking system and finance production
already existed up to that time, so how can you say that the need to
finance production requires money not to be a commodity, since money was a
commodity and finance production was there? In Marx's theory there is no
inconsistency between the commodity nature of money and the credit system.
On the contrary, Marx derives the latter from the former in a consistent
way. I wonder if Riccardo disagrees with this.

On Fred's last phrase:

> If money is
> indeed no longer a commodity, but once was, then what we need is a theory
> of money which can explain both money as a commodity and money not as a
> commodity.

Right. I would however add that, if one clearly distinguishes, as Marx
did, between money and the instruments of circulation derived from money,
which is what credit money is according to Marx, we have an integrated
theory of money in capitalism. What is being taken as money, in the present
debate, are in fact standards of prices in the predominant form of credit
money, f.i. deposits denominated in dollars or marks or yens and so on.

Claus Germer
Departamento de Economia
Universidade Federal do Paraná
Rua Dr. Faivre, 405 - 3º andar
80060-140 Curitiba - Paraná

Tel: (041) 360-5214 - Ufpr
       (041) 254-3415 Res.

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